Military Readiness: Readiness Reports Do Not Provide a Clear Assessment of Army Equipment.
GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WASHINGTON DC NATIONAL SECURITY AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS DIV
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On the basis of your concerns about the combat readiness of U.S. military forces as the individual services deal with reductions in force size and the expanding demands of peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance operations, we reviewed the equipment readiness in active duty Army units. As requested, this report addresses whether active duty units 1 have the equipment required to conduct their wartime missions, 2 are keeping their equipment in good condition, and 3 can sustain the equipment in a two major theater war as required by the National Military Strategy. While details are classified, a high percentage of active duty Army units have the major equipment items they need for their wartime mission. Moreover, Army information shows that units are maintaining the bulk of their equipment in a fully mission capable condition. Despite these positive indications of readiness, current readiness reporting systems and not comprehensive enough to reveal all readiness weaknesses. For example, they do not show operational limitations that have been caused by extensive shortages of support equipment essential to effective, sustained use of major equipment items. Units could deploy without this equipment and could perform their basic combat missions, but they would be limited in their capability, flexibility or sustainability. Additionally, the Army has stated that its equipment is aging and becoming increasingly difficult to maintain and maintenance managers at units we visited told us that their mechanics are devoting increasing amounts of time to keep equipment operating. These problems are not reflected in readiness data, which show units are able to keep their equipment serviceable. We have reported that serviceability rates do not provide a good assessment of equipment condition because equipment that is old, unreliable, and difficult to maintain may still be reported serviceable.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics